WORKAROUND for Firefox on Vista: Close, Minimize, Restore Buttons Blinking and Not Functioning

Please see below for Six (6!) Possible Workarounds to this problem! #6 is the most promising so far.

[UPDATE: I have later on reported Firefox Address Bar not functioning. That problem was resolved, and the culprit was apparently Alexa Sparky v. 1.4.4 . I am waiting on further information whether the bug with blinking close, minimize and maximize buttons is going to reoccur or not. But we know now that this is an problem independent of Alexa Sparky]


PROBLEM

When trying to use one of the Minimize, Maximize (Restore), and Close Buttons in Firefox 3.5.3, these buttons start blinking erratically and do NOT function. When I click on all three, there is quite a display of blinking, seemingly somewhat correlated. However, the Firefox is hosed and needs to be killed and restarted. Still seeking solution for this problem. Let me know in a comment if you found a solution or at least a workaround!

[UPDATE 2: Previous claim that changing Windows Personalization Properties solves the problem was not true. In fact, the buttons did stop blinking. However, when pressed they went blinking again and were not functional.]

WORKAROUND

Currently, the workaround is to kill the Firefox 3.5 process through Task Manager. Possibly you could close it through the Task Bar click on the Firefox icon and hitting F4 to close. I have not tested this yet.

WORKAROUND 2 (POSSIBLY)

[UPDATE: This is the most promising workaround so far. I noticed TODAY 10/21/09 that when I got blinking minimize button, I also got unresponsive Firefox window frames. All three of them. I indeed counted the number of tabs and it was 40 exactly. It was possible to close one tab, and guess what, the same second, the blinking of the minimize button stopped!]

[UPDATE 2: 10/30/2009: Got the same problem today. Some of the tabs were unresponsive when I got the blinking minimize button syndrome. Some were responsive. I closed a few of those and the problem went away. Again, this is the easiest most promising workaround so far. Close some tabs.]

I found that the problem has not occurred after I reduced the number of tabs open in my Firefox Windows. This could be a workaround - reducing the number of tabs may be a good idea anyways.
I got another independent confirmation that reducing the number of tabs works by Jae

Hmm... I haven't paid attention to the specific number of tabs open, but it does seem to help when I clean up my tabs (meaning go from 40-ish to 15-20). I'll be sure to keep an eye on the number of tabs open next time it happens.
So after you've restarted FF, quickly reduce the number of tabs open. I have not yet had the problem reoccur since I reduced the number of tabs.

Let me know in the comments below how many tabs and how many FF windows you had open when you saw the problem. Thanks!

WORKAROUND 3 (THANKS TO COMMENTER HANNA)

Hanna, below, found that switching to another, non-flash tab made buttons function again.
[Update: I just had the same "blinking close, maximize, and minimize button problem" today, and switching tabs showed a different tab content, but did NOT make the problem with the buttons go away. The problem disappeared by itself later, much later. So this is NOT a universal workaround.]

WORKAROUND 4 (Potential, Thanks to a TIMELY Firefox PopUp Message)

I had never before received such a pop-up from Firefox! The pop-up has appeared through my Firefox today:

These Add-ons Have been blocked:
  • Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant 1.1 [Blocked add-on]
  • Windows Presentation Foundation 3.5.30729.1 [Blocked add-on]
These Add-ons have a high risk of causing stability or security problems and have been blocked. Restart is required.
There you have it. That is a potential Workaround #4 for the problem.

I checked and yes, I had .NET Framework Assistant 1.1 Extension installed in my Firefox. And yes, I had the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) Plugin installed in my Firefox. You can indeed find them in my original problem report to Firefox, below.

I write about this very peculiar possible workaround in the post titled The Battle of Softwares: Microsoft vs Firefox.

[Update: I just had the same "blinking and non-functional Close, Restore, and Minimize button problem" today, after disableing the above Add-ons and restarting Firefox. Disabling the above Add-ons will prevent future surprises from Microsoft in Firefox. However, it did NOT make the problem with the buttons go away. So this is probably NOT a workaround.]

WORKAROUND #5 (POSSIBLE, BASED ON A HINT FROM FIREFOX)

Disable Firefox Skype extension!

[UPDATE: Anonymous reports in the comments below that problem still persists with Skype extension disabled. See below. This workaround needs to be thrown out the window! ]

Today Firefox popup came up suggesting to disable Firefox Skype extension 2.2.102 because it causes instabilities. Could that be a solution? Everyone, please help: If you are reporting this blinking close, minimize, restore buttons problems in the comments below, please include: #1) How many tabs you had open in FF when it happened #2) Do you have Firefox Skype Extension enabled, and what version. That would be great. I have disabled Skype extension for Firefox today and we'll see if the problem reocurrs.

WORKAROUND #6 (most promising so far! Thanks to an anonymous commenter, below.)

If you have more than one Firefox Window open, Close All But One! Move your tabs into one single window (just click and drag will do). Then close all windows but one. If you are having this problem and are commenting below, please let us know how many windows you had open.

WORKAROUND #7

Posted separately in a new post! See you there!

SOLUTION

There is no proper solution to this problem just yet. You'll just have to use one of the WORKAROUNDS above for now. If you have this problem and are sick of needing to kill Firefox and restart, click on Follow with Google Friend Connect on the bottom left and I will let you know when I find the solution. Probably the SAME DAY as it becomes available! The other thing you can do is whenever you see this problem occur, disable one of your AddOns and see if anything improves. Then let me know in the comment below, which AddOn did you disable! Thanks!

REPORTING PROBLEM TO FIREFOX DEVELOPERS

Below the problem I reported today to Firefox developers: If you have a solution please let me know. Before I reported the issue, I searchd all over the internet. No solution. Googled for firefox close button not working, firefox problem, firefox minimize button not working, firefox restor button problem, firefox unresponsive, firefox frozen, firefox not working, firefox stops working. No solution.

I am planning to downgrade from Firefox 3.5 more specifically Firefox 3.5.3 down to 3.0.14.

Shortly after this problem which happened even after restarting Firefox, I was not able to get any URL to display or to navigate in Firefox to any website. In fact I am writing this using Google Chrome!

PROBLEM DESCRIPTION SUBMITTED

Here's the problem report submitted to Firefox: http://support.mozilla.com/tiki-view_forum_thread.php?locale=en-US&forumId=1&comments_parentId=471517

Sometimes The Close, The Maximize and The Minimize Buttons are Blinking   


 Issue

Firefox is having problems with certain web sites

Description

The Windows Vista: Close, Maximize and Minimize buttons in the top/right of the windows frame start to blink and become disfunctional for an extended period of time. This happens on random websites, one of them being "Google hiring workers from home" site which is triggered in a popunder.

URL of affected sites

http://any.com but see above

Extensions installed

several, other reports say it happens in Safe mode as well.

Firefox version

3.5.3

Operating system

Windows Vista

User Agent

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-US; rv:1.9.1.3) Gecko/20090824 Firefox/3.5.3 (.NET CLR 3.5.30729)

Plugins installed


[-]
  • IE Tab Plug-in for Mozilla/Firefox
  • LogMeIn, Inc. Remote Access Components
  • npmnqmp 07076007
  • QuickUpload Plugin (1.0.0.47)
  • Default Plug-in
  • RealJukebox Netscape Plugin
  • RealPlayer(tm) LiveConnect-Enabled Plug-In
  • 6.0.12.69
  • Adobe PDF Plug-In For Firefox and Netscape
  • BitTorrent Plugin 1
  • 1.7.0059.1
  • npunagi2
  • np-mswmp
  • Office Plugin for Netscape Navigator
  • Google Update
  • Shockwave Flash 10.0 r22
  • Delivery Network Acceleration by BitTorrent™
  • 3.0.40723.0
  • Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) plug-in for Mozilla browsers
  • MetaStream 3 Plugin r4
  • Java Plug-in 1.6.0_03 for Netscape Navigator (DLL Helper) 

45 comments:

Hanna said...

Having this same problem, and i've noticed that mine only blinks when there flash on the tab i'm looking at. for instance, if i have pandora, your blog, and facebook open in 3 different tabs, i'm viewing the pandora tab, and i try to close/minimize/maximize the page...it flickers. if i switch to the tab with your blog, it minimizes without problem.

tried re-installing flash, upgrading, downgrading, re-installing firefox....nothing changes.

Matt @ annoyances resolved - end your computer's annoyances said...

Hanna, Thanks for your very valuable information! If you could provide a page with a flash (any page) where this occurs for you, this would be a BIG help.

Jonathan said...

I'm having the same problem w/ Win7 and it's reeeeealy frikkin annoying. Usually, when I have to move the window, I'll just use Windows+D to view desktop and then Win+d again and they'll work to allow me to move the windows, but try to exit or minimize again and the same problem presents itself again.

Mentor Matt said...

Ouch, Jonathan, Windows 7 has not solved that problem! Yikes! I have another idea: Try upgrading to Firefox 3.5.4?? I have NOT done that yet. Also, how many tabs did you have open when it happened? Please let me know if it happened again on FF 3.5.4 and how many tabs when it happened! Thanks for your Win7/FF bug report!

Mentor Matt said...

Just got a report from another forum that upgrading Firefox to 3.5.4 does NOT solve this problem:

QUOTE:
Message:
-----------------------------------------------
I have to take back my comment above - Firefox 3.5.4 didn't fixed the issue. It's happening again.
-----------------------------------------------
END QUOTE
(Someone thought upgrading to 3.5.4 would fix it. It does not. Best thing again is Workaround 3 above)

Mentor Matt said...

Gabriel Says on the support.mozilla.com forum:
QUOTE
---------------------------------------------
This problem also occurs in windows 7
---------------------------------------------
END OF QUOTE

So we are dealing with a Firefox 3.5.3/3.5.4 and Vista SP2/Windows 7. Quite a broad and annoying problem, huh!

Robert Green said...

It happens to me in Windwos 7 x64 pro in FF 3.5.4 when I have the last.fm music player open and plaing. Very annoying. I hope they fix this soon.

Anonymous said...

Same problem here. Microsoft suggested doing a clean boot and only letting half of the services start at a time, rebooting, and seeing if the error occurs again. Then rinse and repeat for each service!! That would take a long time. Plus, the error does not always appear.

I beleive this is a video driver issue. Other forums I've read say if you switch to a windows classic profile the problem goes away. It happens with Firefox, but doesn't it also happens with other programs?

See:
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/itprovistaapps/thread/b86d4c71-3446-4ce2-9e26-70ac25ade867

google it if it doesn't come up.

Anonymous said...

btw, I'm running Windows 7 x64, FF 3.5.4, and an nVidia Quadro NVS 140M

Matt @ Skype Extension Causing Firefox Unstable said...

Anonymous, thanks for your contribution. Yeah, that would take a long time to bring up one service at the time. Tell us if you solve your problem through fixing the video driver.

Another possibility: Today Firefox Popup came up suggesting to disable Firefox Skype extension 2.2.102 because it is known to cause instabilities. Could that be a solution?? Everyone: If you are reporting this blinking close, minimize, restore buttons problems here, please include: #1) How many tabs you had open in FF when it happened #2) Do you have Firefox Skype Extension enabled, and what version. That would be great. I have disabled Skype extension for Firefox today and we'll see if the problem reocurrs.

Robert Green said...

Just updated to FF 3.5.5 today,

Still having the problem. Unable to move, resize, minimize, maximize, close or use the window menu for any of firefox's windows.

I'm running Windows x64 7 Professional retail (not some beta or test version) on a T61p laptop with an Nvidia Quadra FX 570m gpu.

Matt @ firefox window buttons problem said...

Robert, Thanks for the new info on 3.5.5 Do you have the Skype extension by chance? There is a lot of talk about it causing FF instability. If you have it installed, disable it and see if you still have the problem. Let us know!

Anonymous said...

I know that the Firefox-Skype extension has caused a lot of problems. On my new install I have not yet installed the extension, and I'm expereincing the non-responsive buttons right now.

The latest from MS: create a new user account and see if the problem persists. It might be a corrupt user profile. I have used a test account some--but its inconvienent and am not on it now. I have to say, I have not experienced the problem on my test account yet.

Need more testing. Also, I think this is a purely firefox issue. I just got an update from IBM for my video driver--and same problem.

Good luck all.

Mentor Matt said...

Thanks, Anonymous, for your valuable contribution. Skype extension seems to be ruled out as a cause then. I will change the original post, above. Keep us posted of your findings, TIA!

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem, never have more than a few tabs (6-8, usually 2-4), don't have any of the add-ons mentioned. It generally happens when I do a pop-out window in hulu.com. Usually only happens when I have a second firefox window open.

Matt @ Fix for Firefox Blinking Close Button said...

Anonymous, great observation! I also noticed no more blinking after I am using a single window with Firefox. Will open one or two more now!

Anonymous said...

Hey all, I posted on Nov. 2 and 7. I am in device manager looking around. I opened a pop up window to check out my processor driver info, and when I do a mouse-over to close the window, it flashes just like FF. And, it does it repeatedly to any device I open and do a mouse over on. The window does close though.

This is very similar behavior to FF when the tab or pop-up flashes and does not respond.

Just an observation.

MB

Anonymous said...

any news?
this is over a year old and it happens to me as well.

Anonymous said...

Solution 6 doesn't make sense. When the problem happens to me, I usually can't move any of the windows--they do not respond to being dragged. Sometimes I am able to close one from the task bar at the bottom of the screen after minimizing it, but that doesn't always work.

Anonymous said...

Also, I have never been able to drag a a Firefox window into another one. Are you sure you aren't thinking about Chrome?

Mentor Matt said...

All anonymous contributors, welcome back. I will rephrase Workaround 6. I meant when you have 3 windows open, you want to instantly reduce the number of windows (dragging and dropping TABS from one window to the other) and closing one or more windows BEFORE the problem occurs. More evidence today: as I promised, I switched to three windows two days ago from one window. The problem showed up again. So I highly recommend using 2 or fewer windows of Firefox at any time.

Mentor Matt said...

MB, this is an excellent "just observation"! Sounds like this is not at all the Firefox Problem, but Vista/ Windows 7 problem! Have you been able to repeat the issue with the Device Manager driver? Do you have Firefox open at the time? Does the problem occur with Firefox at the same time? Just a few thoughts

Worth said...

I have the same problems as the other user who have posted here. 22
HP Pavilion dv7
AMD Turion X2 64
4GB Ram
ATI Radeon Video Card
Windows Vista Home Premium 64Bit Edition SP2
firefox 3.5.5
Add-ons
AVG Safe Search 9.0.0.701
AVG Security Toolbar 2.710.016.005
Download Helper 4.6.5
Download Them All 1.1.7
File Title 1.3
Fireshot 0.80
Foxcast 0.9.10.1
IE Tab 1.5.20090525
Sxipper 2.2.3
Undo Closed Tab Button 3.5.1

I have experienced this problem here and there, but it becoming annoying. I have anywhere from 10 to 20 tabs open at a time. That does not seem to matter, but at last occurence, 22. I have read where some people have adjusted their Nvidia card and fixed the issue. But I have an ATI Radeon. I hope this info helps to find a resolution. 11-29-2009

Worth said...

Ok, this is fresh and new, I had the About Mozilla Firefox Tab Open, To add the version info, The buttons just freaked out, and I could not get the OK or Credits button to respond. Man, this is getting really old! thanks for any help you can provide! 11-29-2009

Worth said...

Ok, this is fresh and new, I had the About Mozilla Firefox Tab Open, To add the version info, The buttons just freaked out, and I could not get the OK or Credits button to respond. Man, this is getting really old! thanks for any help you can provide! 11-29-2009

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is MB- Yes, when device's properties is open in device manager the close button flashed regardless of whether ff is open.

After closing ff the problem did stop--but after testing again, it the same flashing reappeared even with ff closed.

At least in device manager the button responds unlike ff.

I'm actually back to write that another observation I have is that this happens in firefox when adobe flash player is open.

It is a windows vistt/ 7 problem. I had to reinstall vista for the time being and the same problem appears as in 7.

Good luck all. Its amazing MS doesn't have a fix for this. The message boards show the problem has been around for years.

MB

Matt | Firefox Unresponsive Workaround said...

Hi, MB, Worth, Others: I Found Yet another workaround (workaround #7) and I posted it in a separate post. Feel free to comment and add your observations either here or there! Firefox on Vista Unresponsive: Workaround #7

Anonymous said...

I have this problem in FF 3.5.5 and thought it was due to upgrading to Windows 7 from XP. So I reinstalled windows 7 a 2nd time and it still happens. It has been 3 months now without a solution. I'm about to just switch to chrome and be done... if it weren't for adblock.
Addons are Adblock plus, Forecastbar enh, Tab Mix Plus, WOT, and xmarks.

Bookmarking this site hopefully someone will solve it soon. Making me a real idiot to the family for moving to Win 7 at launch.

Worth said...

Workaround #7 worked for me! Give it a try and post here if it works! Thanks to Matt and everyone who contributes to this page for finding a solution for a problem that Microsoft clearly does not care about! I will drop in to update and let everyone know if this is a long term fix. Thanks again!
http://annoyances-resolved.blogspot.com/2009/12/firefox-unresponsive-workaround-7-for.html

Anonymous said...

If I have two FF windows open and one has multiple tabs (16 in my case) and one has only one tab I can get the blinking on the window with only one tab (the 16 tab window is open but does not have focus). If I go to the window with 16 tabs and try to close via the "x" button I'll get the blinking staring on that one as well. If I *close* that 16 tab FF window with alt-f4 the blinking *stops* on the single tab window and all goes normal (even tho that single tab window is the one the blinking started with).

I really cannot believe this is not more widely reported and fixed.

Anonymous said...

I tried Workaround 7 and it seems to be working for me. I will update in a couple days after more tests.

Mentor Matt said...

Great! Please do come back to report. I've experienced the blinking/unresponsive problem today with the "Desktop Composition" on and two FF windows. Changing to a single window, with several dozens of tabs, no problems so far, even with "Desktop Composition" (translucent frames) still turned on.

Shivanand Sharma said...

1. Just do "Show Desktop" to minimise the window and then click on the taskbar button to restore it again. Blinking stops. Repeat if it reoccurs.

2. Use the Windows Standard Theme instead of Aero.

Mentor Matt said...

This "Show Desktop" sounds like a great workaround, Shivanand. Thanks for sharing.

To Access "Show Desktop" just right click on the taskbar in Vista and click "Show the Desktop". To go back, again right click on taskbar and click "Show Open Windows".

I'll try that if I ever get another blinking/unresponsive Firefox problem like that. I have not had this problem reoccur since I implemented the Workaround 7 for Firefox Minimize Button Blinking and since I'm using a single window for Firefox. I have even managed to put 40-60 tabs in a single window without any problems.

If someone else can independently confirm this solution, I'll declare it Workaround #8 and publish in a separate post.

Anonymous said...

I somewhat suspect it's javascript problem. Today when I opened more and more tabs, it started to have this problem(not always, 50% chance blink). Then I disabled javascript and reload all tabs. Those buttons work properly again. Of course, it will cause pages don't display properly.

Anonymous said...

I have found a solution that fully resolved the problem on my computer.

I must add I did not only have a problem with Firefox but also when using Google video chat by no particular reason all of the sudden my voice would get scrambled as if the bandwidth or computer performance would drop.

Workaround #6 worked but ... well, this is still annoying and no resolution on the voice scrambling.

Suspecting that it was a driver problem I went to my computer brand homepage (Acer) and updated all my drivers according to their update packages. No success. Finally I checked all my system drivers and updated them manually by going to all homepages of the manufacturers.

And this worked. I suspect that it was the ethernet driver (Atheros AR8121/AR8113/AR8114 PCI-E Ethernet Controller). Interestingly, on their webpage they recommend to go to your computer manufacturer homepage to update the driver

"if you are not a direct Atheros customer and require driver support or customer service related to drivers, please contact the manufacturer of the product or system you purchased."

(and on Acers page the most actual driver was not offered). But on their partner webpage (http://partner.atheros.com/Drivers.aspx) you can find the most actual version of the driver. And that worked and also resolved my Google Voice Chat problem.

I hope this would help to resolve also the problems of many other users...

Cheers,
Nashquick

Disclosure said...

Anonymous, Thanks for the javascript hint. Have you found a workaround that would not diminish the functionality of the browser?

Nashquick, Thanks you for your contribution. Valuable information. I also have an Acer with the Atheros ethernet driver. If the problem reappears I will try your solution of updating the factory - downloaded drivers.

The Atheros comment on their website that you report reminds me of Microsoft Vista... they must have the agreement that, whoever you gave the money to, is "responsible" for the customer support which includes driver updates. Why the drivers on Acer's website are not up to date is a separate question. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I fixed the problem by uninstalling ObjectDock and restarting computer. But if you haven't OD, good luck in finding another solution.

Disclosure said...

Hi Anonymous, Good to hear about your solution. Come back to report if that solution of yours was permanent, i.e. the firefox blinking problem never reoccurred. Thanks for reporting!

jvd897 said...

For what it's worth, I'm not even sure this is a Firefox issue. I think I've seen this happen with explorer.exe windows on my parents' Vista computer, which only has 1GB of RAM. I'll let you know for sure if it happens again, but Workaround 7 leads me to believe that this is really a bug in the Desktop Window Manager when a program is using a lot of RAM.

Anonymous said...

Same problem for me. Win7 x64. Very annoying. Seems to happen randomly. BUT, when it happens and I quit objectdock bar, the blinking stops immediatly and I am able to move reduce or close the firefox window.
I have docks (from objectdock) configured to hide offscreen at the top and bottom of my screen.
I run multi monitors also.
Maybe this would help to identify more precicely the problem.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read the previous anonymous post before sending mine. I just did.
Would every people in here had/have the stardock application on their computer???

Disclosure said...

Anonymous-es, thanks for your comments. Interesting to see this has not been fixed in Windows 7 either.. Now there is a quick "Workaround" if you want to try it next time - it is posted here: Workaround for Windows Vista, Win 7 Firefox Buttons Blinking

Κατασκευή ιστοσελίδων PCNW said...

Try maximize all windows that are not restoring by clicking on mini thumb that appears from taskbar, when hover with the mouse pointer. Then do windows cascade by right click on an empty space on taskbar.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I know this is an old thread but I had this same problem and this is what worked for me.

The problem was with a security setting that somehow got out of whack. I did this:

* Go to Start and run regedit, then find this folder:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Zones\0

* Look at the value for Key 1802 -- it should be "0."

* Check the same value for the other zones.

Making this change resolved my problem.

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